Poor Miss Finch HTML version
Mr. Finch smells Money
A DOMESTIC alarm deferred for some hours our proposed walk to Browndown.
The old nurse, Zillah, was taken ill in the night. She was so little relieved by such
remedies as we were able to apply, that it became necessary to summon the doctor in the
morning. He lived at some distance from Dimchurch; and he had to send back to his own
house for the medicines required. As a necessary result of these delays, it was close on
one o'clock in the afternoon before the medical remedies had their effect, and the nurse
was sufficiently recovered to permit of our leaving her in the servant's care.
We had dressed for our walk (Lucilla being ready long before I was), and had got as far
as the garden gate on our way to Browndown--when we heard, on the other side of the
wall, a man's voice, pitched in superbly deep bass tones, pronouncing these words:
"Believe me, my dear sir, there is not the least difficulty. I have only to send the cheque
to my bankers at Brighton."
Lucilla started, and caught hold of me by the arm.
"My father!" she exclaimed in the utmost astonishment. "Who is he talking to?"
The key of the gate was in my possession. "What a grand voice your father has got!" I
said, as I took the key out of my pocket. I opened the gate. There, confronting us on the
threshold, arm in arm, as if they had known each other from childhood, stood Lucilla's
father, and--Oscar Dubourg!
Reverend Finch opened the proceedings by folding his daughter affectionately in his
"My dear child!" he said, "I received your letter--your most interesting letter--this
morning. The moment I read it I felt that I owed a duty to Mr. Dubourg. As pastor of
Dimchurch, it was clearly incumbent on me to comfort a brother in affliction. I really felt,
so to speak, a longing to hold out the right hand of friendship to this sorely-tried man. I
borrowed my friend's carriage, and drove straight to Browndown. We have had a long
and cordial talk. I have brought Mr. Dubourg home with me. He must be one of us. My
dear child, Mr. Dubourg must be one of us. Let me introduce you. My eldest daughter--
He performed the ceremony of presentation, with the most impenetrable gravity, as if he
really believed that Oscar and his daughter now met each other for the first time!
Never had I set my eyes on a meaner-looking man than this rector. In height he barely
reached up to my shoulder. In substance, he was so miserably lean that he looked the
living picture of starvation. He would have made his fortune in the streets of London, if
he had only gone out and shown himself to the public in ragged clothes. His face was
deeply pitted with the small-pox. His short grisly hair stood up stiff and straight on his
head like hair fixed in a broom. His small whitish-grey eyes had a restless, inquisitive,
hungry look in them, indescribably irritating and uncomfortable to see. The one personal
distinction he possessed consisted in his magnificent bass voice--a voice which had no
sort of right to exist in the person who used it. Until one became accustomed to the